Step by Step Guide on Excel VBA Code for Combobox in Userform

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to write Excel VBA code for a combobox in a userform. This step-by-step tutorial will show you how to create dynamic dropdown menus in your spreadsheets using comboboxes. By following this guide, you'll be able to enhance the functionality and usability of your Excel files and make them more user-friendly.

Key Takeaways:

  • Excel VBA code allows you to create dynamic dropdown menus for data input in Excel.
  • Comboboxes are a useful tool for data input because they allow users to select from a list of options.
  • You can customize combobox properties such as the number of visible items, default selection, and sorting to make it more user-friendly.
  • Writing VBA code for combobox behavior can make it respond to user interactions, capture the selected item, handle events, and perform actions based on user input.
  • Adding auto-complete functionality and nesting comboboxes for hierarchical selection can greatly improve the user experience.

Understanding Comboboxes in Userforms

Before we dive into the code, let's first define what a combobox is and why it is useful for data input in Excel. A combobox is a drop-down list that contains a set of predefined items, allowing users to select a value from the list or enter a new value if the list is editable. Comboboxes are commonly used in userforms, which are custom forms created using VBA code that allow users to input data into your Excel spreadsheet in a more streamlined and user-friendly way.

  • They make data input faster and more accurate by providing a pre-defined list of options for users to choose from.
  • They allow for data validation, where only values within the predefined list are accepted, reducing the risk of incorrect data entry.
  • They enable users to enter new values that are not in the predefined list, providing flexibility and customization options.

How Comboboxes Work

A combobox is made up of a list of items and a text box where the user can type in a new value. When the user clicks on the arrow next to the combobox, a drop-down list appears showing the list of items. The user can then select an item from the list or type in a new value if the list is editable. When an item is selected, it appears in the text box, and the value is stored in the cell or variable assigned to the combobox.

Creating a Combobox

To create a combobox in a userform, you need to first create the userform and add the combobox control to it. You can then customize the combobox by setting properties such as the item list, number of visible items, default selection, and sorting.

Tip: In Excel VBA, you can create a userform by navigating to the Visual Basic Editor, selecting Insert from the top menu, and choosing UserForm.

Types of Comboboxes

There are different types of comboboxes in Excel, including:

Combobox Type Description
Simple Combobox A basic combobox that displays a list of items and allows the user to select from the list.
Dropdown Combobox A combobox that displays a list of items when clicking on the dropdown arrow, and also enables the user to type in a new value.
Editable Combobox A combobox that allows the user to type in a new value without displaying a list of items.

Understanding the different types of comboboxes can help you select the most appropriate one for your data input needs.

Creating a Userform

To start creating a userform in Excel, click on the Developer tab in the ribbon. If the Developer tab isn't visible, go to File > Options > Customize Ribbon > Main Tabs and select the Developer option.

Next, click on Insert and select Userform from the drop-down menu. This will create a blank userform in your Excel workbook.

Now, you can start adding controls to your userform, including the combobox. To add a combobox, click on the ComboBox icon in the control toolbox and click and drag on the userform where you want the combobox to appear.

Once you have added the combobox, you can customize the properties to suit your needs. This includes changing the name, default value, and list style.

Adding Controls to the Userform

In addition to the combobox, you can add other controls to your userform such as text boxes, labels, and command buttons. To add a control, simply click on the icon in the control toolbox and click and drag on the userform where you want the control to appear.

Customizing the Userform

Once you have added all the necessary controls, you can customize the appearance of the userform. This includes changing the size, layout, and background color. You can also add images and logos to the userform to make it more visually appealing.

By following these steps, you can easily create a userform in Excel and add a combobox to enhance the functionality and usability of your spreadsheets.

Adding Items to the Combobox

After creating the userform, it's time to add items to the combobox. The combobox is used to display a list of values or choices for the user to select from. There are two main methods for adding items to the combobox: manual entry and dynamic data sources.

Manual Entry

To manually add items to a combobox, simply select the combobox and enter each item on a new line in the properties window. This method is suitable for small lists that don't change frequently.

Dynamic Data Sources

If you have a large list that changes frequently, you can use a dynamic data source to populate the combobox. The data source can be a range of cells in an Excel worksheet or an external data source such as an Access database.

Steps Description
Step 1 Create a named range for the items you want to display in the combobox.
Step 2 Select the combobox, go to the properties window, and set the RowSource property to the named range.
Step 3 Refresh the RowSource property whenever the data changes.

By using dynamic data sources, your combobox will always display the latest data, making it more user-friendly and efficient.

Setting Properties of the Combobox

Properties are an essential feature that allows you to customize the combobox according to your needs. Here are the most commonly used properties:

Property Description
ColumnCount Determines the number of columns in the dropdown list.
BoundColumn The column number that contains the selected value.
ListStyle Determines the appearance of the dropdown list. Use 0 for a normal list or 1 for a checkbox list.
ListWidth The width of the dropdown list in points.
ListRows Determines the number of visible items in the dropdown list.
MatchEntry Determines how to handle new entries that do not match any of the existing items. Use 0 for not allowed, 1 for nearest match, and 2 for adding new value.
Sorted Specifies whether the items in the dropdown list should be sorted in ascending order.

Remember, you can access and modify these properties through the combobox properties dialog box or programmatically through VBA code.

For instance, to set the number of visible items to 5, use the following code:

ComboBox1.ListRows = 5

You can also set the default value of the combobox using the Value property:

ComboBox1.Value = "Default Value"

Experiment with these properties to find the combination that works best for your needs. With a little tweaking, you can create a combobox that is both functional and visually appealing.

Writing Code to Control Combobox Behavior

Once you have your userform and combobox set up, it's time to make it respond to user interactions. By writing VBA code, you can control the behavior of the combobox and create a more dynamic user experience.

The first step is to capture the selected item in the combobox, which can be done with the following code snippet:

'Capture the selected item in the combobox
Dim selected_item As String
selected_item = UserForm1.ComboBox1.Value

Next, you can handle events triggered by user actions, such as selecting an item or clearing the combobox. This can be achieved by using subroutines or functions that perform specific actions based on the event. For example:

'Handle selection in the combobox
Private Sub ComboBox1_Change()
MsgBox "You selected " & UserForm1.ComboBox1.Value
End Sub

Finally, you can perform actions based on the selected item, such as populating other fields with related data or updating a chart. Here's an example:

'Perform action based on selected item
Private Sub ComboBox1_Change()
If UserForm1.ComboBox1.Value = "North America" Then
UserForm1.TextBox1.Value = "Sales in Q1: $50,000"
End If
End Sub

With these simple examples, you can start writing code to control the behavior of your combobox and create a more interactive user interface for your Excel spreadsheets.

Filtering Data in the Combobox

Sometimes, you may have a large amount of data and only want to display a subset in the combobox. Filtering the data dynamically is the solution. This ensures that only relevant items are available for selection, making the combobox more user-friendly and efficient.

Step by Step Guide:

  1. Create a data source that contains all of the items you want to display in the combobox.
  2. Open the VBA Editor by pressing Alt + F11.
  3. Insert a new module by clicking Insert > Module.
  4. Enter the following code:

Sub FilterComboBox()
Dim i As Long
For i = 0 To ComboBox1.ListCount – 1
If InStr(1, ComboBox1.List(i), "Criteria", vbTextCompare) 0 Then
ComboBox1.RemoveItem i
End If
Next i
End Sub

Replace “ComboBox1” with the name of your combobox and “Criteria” with the specific criteria on which you want to filter the data.

  1. Close the VBA Editor and return to your spreadsheet.
  2. Create a button or add code to run the procedure automatically.
  3. Test the combobox to ensure that only the filtered items are displayed.

By following these simple steps, you can filter the data in your combobox and make it easier for users to find the desired item.

Validating User Input

Action VBA Code
Validate selection If ComboBox1.Value = "" Then
 MsgBox "Please select an item", vbExclamation, "Invalid Selection"
End If

Validation is an essential step in ensuring accurate data input. In this section, we'll show you how to validate user input in the combobox to prevent invalid data.

The first step is to check if the user has made a selection. A common mistake is to allow blank entries in the combobox, leading to errors in downstream calculations. To check for an empty selection, use the following VBA code to display an error message:

If ComboBox1.Value = "" Then
 MsgBox "Please select an item", vbExclamation, "Invalid Selection"
End If

By incorporating this code into your userform, you can efficiently detect errors and prompt the user to correct their selection before proceeding.

Enhancing the Combobox with Auto-Complete

Auto-complete functionality can streamline the process of data input and improve the overall user experience of your Excel spreadsheets. In this section, we will guide you through the process of implementing auto-complete in the combobox using VBA code.

To enable auto-complete in the combobox, you need to set the MatchEntry property to fmMatchEntryComplete in the properties window. This will activate the auto-complete feature, which means that the user can start typing the name or value they are looking for in the combobox, and the list will automatically display matching options.

If you need to populate the combobox with a large dataset, you can also set the LimitToList property to False. This will allow users to input their own value, even if it doesn't exist in the original dataset.

Let's take a look at the VBA code required to implement auto-complete in the combobox:

Private Sub UserForm_Initialize()
'Populate the combobox with data
Me.ComboBox1.List = Range("A1:A10").Value

'Enable auto-complete
Me.ComboBox1.MatchEntry = fmMatchEntryComplete
End Sub>

In this example, we first populate the combobox with data from cells A1 to A10. Then, we set the MatchEntry property to fmMatchEntryComplete to enable auto-complete.

Using auto-complete in the combobox can greatly enhance the user experience in your Excel spreadsheets. By following our step-by-step guide, you can implement this feature into your own projects and take your Excel skills to the next level!

Nesting Comboboxes for Hierarchical Selection

Comboboxes are a powerful tool for enhancing the functionality of your Excel spreadsheets. One useful feature is the ability to create a hierarchical selection process, where the options in one combobox depend on the selection made in another combobox. This can greatly improve the user experience and make data input more efficient.

To achieve this, you'll need to write VBA code that controls the behavior of the comboboxes. Here's a step by step guide:

  1. Create a userform with at least two comboboxes.
  2. Populate the first combobox with the top-level options. For example, if you're creating a selection process for product categories, this combobox might contain options like "Electronics", "Home & Garden", and "Clothing".
  3. Write code that captures the selection made in the first combobox.
  4. Based on the selected option, populate the second combobox with the relevant sub-options. Continuing with the example above, if the user selects "Electronics", the second combobox might be populated with options like "Computers & Accessories", "TV & Video", and "Cell Phones & Accessories".
  5. Repeat this process as many times as necessary to create a complete hierarchical selection process.

By nesting comboboxes, you can create a streamlined selection process that guides the user to the most appropriate option. This not only saves time, but also reduces the risk of input errors.

Now that you know how to nest comboboxes for hierarchical selection, you can take your Excel skills to the next level. With a little bit of coding knowledge, you can create dynamic dropdown menus that significantly enhance the functionality and usability of your spreadsheets.

Troubleshooting and Common Issues

Despite following proper coding practices, you may encounter problems or errors when working with comboboxes. Here are some common issues and troubleshooting tips:

Data not Displaying Correctly in the Combobox

If the combobox is not showing the data correctly, check the following:

  • Ensure the data source is correct and in the right format.
  • Check if there are any filters applied to the data that may be affecting the display.
  • Verify that the combobox is set up correctly and no properties are conflicting with the data display.

If none of these solutions work, try rebuilding the combobox or seeking help from an Excel VBA expert.

Invalid Input Error Messages

If users are receiving invalid input error messages when selecting options in the combobox, consider the following:

  • Ensure that the input validation conditions are correctly set up.
  • Verify that the code is handling incorrect input in a user-friendly manner, displaying clear and helpful error messages.
  • Check if the combobox properties are conflicting with the validation rules.

Code Debugging

If your VBA code is causing errors or issues with the combobox, here are some troubleshooting tips:

  • Use breakpoint debugging to step through the code and identify the source of the problem.
  • Check if there are any syntax errors or logical errors in the code.
  • Verify that the code is compatible with your version of Excel.

Remember to save a backup of your Excel file before making any major changes to the code.


In this article, we have provided you with a comprehensive step by step guide on how to write Excel VBA code for comboboxes in userforms. You have learned how to create dynamic dropdown menus, customize their properties, and control their behavior through VBA code.

By following the techniques demonstrated in this guide, you can enhance the functionality of your Excel spreadsheets and improve the user experience. Whether you need to filter data, validate user input, or implement auto-complete functionality, the combobox is a powerful tool to achieve these goals.

We hope this article has been helpful and informative, and that you are now equipped with the skills to create and customize comboboxes in your Excel files. Keep practicing and experimenting, and soon you'll be a master of Excel VBA!


What is a combobox in a userform?

A combobox is a control in a userform that allows users to select an item from a dropdown list or enter their own value. It is commonly used for data input in Excel.

How do I create a userform in Excel?

To create a userform in Excel, go to the Developer tab, click on "Insert" in the Controls group, and select "Userform". This will open a blank userform where you can add controls such as a combobox.

How can I add items to a combobox?

There are several ways to add items to a combobox. You can manually enter the items in the userform editor, or you can use VBA code to add items dynamically from a data source.

What are the properties of a combobox?

The properties of a combobox control include the number of visible items, the default selection, whether sorting is enabled, and more. These properties can be customized to enhance the functionality of the combobox.

How do I write VBA code to control combobox behavior?

To control the behavior of a combobox using VBA code, you can use event handlers such as "Change" or "Click" to capture the selected item and perform actions based on user input.

Can I filter the data displayed in a combobox?

Yes, you can filter the data displayed in a combobox dynamically. By writing VBA code, you can set criteria to show only relevant items based on the user's selection or other conditions.

How do I validate user input in a combobox?

To validate user input in a combobox, you can check if the selected item meets certain criteria. If the input is invalid, you can display an error message and prompt the user to make a valid selection.

How can I add auto-complete functionality to a combobox?

You can enhance a combobox with auto-complete functionality by using VBA code. With auto-complete, the combobox suggests and completes the user's input based on the available items.

Is it possible to nest comboboxes for hierarchical selection?

Yes, you can nest comboboxes to create a hierarchical selection process. The options available in one combobox can depend on the selection made in another combobox, allowing for a structured and organized data input.

What should I do if I encounter issues or errors with comboboxes?

If you encounter issues or errors while working with comboboxes, you can refer to our troubleshooting tips in Section 11. We discuss common problems and provide guidance on how to resolve them.

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